English 187A - Spring, 2015

Topics in Literature & Media

    Topic: Shakespeare Today: Adaptations of the Bard

Class Information

Instructor: Bloom, Gina
CRN: 52853
Time: TR 12:10-3:00
Location: 93 Hutch/248 V.


    Traditionally, the field of Shakespeare adaptation studies has focused on theater, film and video. Increasingly, however, scholars have turned their attention to media forms that, less explicitly associated with performance, do not obviously suggest themselves to be good contenders for adaptations of drama: graphic novels, digital and analog games, songs, even tweets. This course begins with film and video adaptations and then moves outward to consider how Shakespeare’s plays are rendered in popular culture today on computer screens and mobile devices (via YouTube, Twitter, videogames), in alternative print media (comic books, choose-your-adventure novels, board games), and in non-theatrical performance forms (popular music). How does the process of adaptation affect the meaning of Shakespeare’s plays, and how can Shakespeare help us think anew about the process of adaptation and the range of media forms through which it is done?

    For the final term projects, students will work alone or in teams to produce a Shakespeare adaptation (in any medium) in addition to a long paper that uses theories of adaptation and media studies to analyze the adaptation they have produced.


    Class participation: 20%
    Short writings: 20%
    Final exam: 20%
    Final project: 40%


    Hamlet, Shakespeare
    To Be Or Not to Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure, Ryan North
    Hamlet, dir. Almereida
    Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare
    Chronicles of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet (DVD ROM)
    Such Tweet Sorrow, Royal Shakespeare Company/Mudlark
    Othello, Shakespeare
    A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare
    Brick Shakespeare, John McCann et. al.
    Romeo and Juliet graphic novel, Gareth Hinds
    Kill Shakespeare graphic novel, Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery
    Other texts TBD